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Novartis hands over global rights for two oncology drugs to Shanghai's Laekna

Published on 02/08/18 at 11:02am

Novartis has revealed that it has jettisoned two of its clinical stage oncology products along with exclusive global development and commercialisation rights to Shanghai-based biotech firm Laekna.

The specific details of the deal were not disclosed, though Novartis will have an equity stake in its partner, and upfront payments as well as milestone and royalty payments on future sales will be included.

The two assets in question, the oral pan-Akt kinase inhibitors afuresertib and uprosertib, were acquired by Novartis from GlaxoSmithKline back a few years earlier. Both candidates have been tested in more than ten Phase 1/2 trials in a range of indications including ovarian and gastric cancer, multiple myeloma and melanoma.

The deal marks the second agreement reached between the two firms, after Laekna picked up the global rights to Novartis’ CYP17 inhibitor for prostate cancer last year.

"Novartis is a global leader in oncology drug innovation. This is the second licensing agreement between Laekna and Novartis, adding to the previous licensing of CFG920 less than a year ago", says Dr Chris Lu, founder and CEO of Laekna. "We have demonstrated to Novartis that Laekna is a valuable collaborator with our strong commitment, experienced team and financing support from the top investment partners."  

Amy Xie, Vice President of Operations at Laekna, added: "We are dedicated to developing these products rapidly through the regulatory process and into commercialisation, with the goal of ultimately benefitting patients around the world."

Matt Fellows

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